Local basket makers show off their skills at 17th Annual Sweetgrass Festival

Charleston County News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The 17th Annual Sweetgrass Festival was held Saturday where tourists and locals celebrated Gullah Geechee Culture and the art of making sweetgrass baskets.

Local basket makers showcased, promoted and marketed their sweetgrass merchandise to locals and cultural tourists from around the country.

The crafting tradition came to South Carolina in the 17th century, and the skill has been passed down from generation to generation.

“I started when I was six years old. Every day after school I had to make one of them,” says Sue Middleton, sweetgrass basket maker.

Mount Pleasant is known as the home of the original Sweetgrass Basket Makers. The stands that are set up along Highway 17 make the roadway known as the Sweetgrass Basket Makers Highway.

“As a child, I used to go down to Highway 17 to the stand down there,” says Jeanette Brown, daughter of a sweetgrass basket maker.

The tradition still stands alive today for many basket makers in the Lowcountry.

Brown’s family has been making baskets for decades, “about 65 years,” she says.

“They have been passed down from generations and they came over with the slave ships and its still being passed down generation to generation and it’s all handmade,” Brown adds.

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